Simple Present – will-future – contrasted

Differences and similarities in the Simple Present and the will-future

1. Use

Simple Present will-future
  • repeated actions
  • fixed arrangements, scheduled events (e.g. timetable)
  • sequence of actions in the present (first - then, after that)
  • instructions
  • things in general
  • after special verbs
  • future actions happen without the speaker's intention
  • prediction, assumption
  • spontaneous action

2. Signal words

Simple Present will-future
  • always
  • often
  • usually
  • sometimes
  • seldom
  • never
  • every day
  • every week
  • every year
  • on Mondays
no unambiguous signal words

3. Form

Simple Present will-future
infinitive → 3rd person singular (he, she, it): infinitive + -s will + infinitive

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative sentences

Simple Present will-future
I read books. I will read books.
I'll read books
You read books. You will read books.
You'll read books.
He reads books. He will read books.
He'll read books.

4.2. Negative sentences

Simple Present will-future
I do not read books.
I don't read books.
I will not read books.
I won't read books.
You do not read books.
You don't read books.
You will not read books.
You won't read books.
He does not read books.
He doesn't read books.
He will not read books.
He won't read books.

4.3. Questions

Simple Present will-future
Do I read books? Will I read books?
Do you read books? Will you read books?
Does he read books? Will he read books?

5. Spelling

Simple Present will-future
  • watches (-es after sibilant)
  • goes (-es after -o)
  • hurries (Change -y to -ie after consonant)
no special forms

In British English we sometimes use shall instead of will for in the first persons (I/we).

6. Both tenses in one sentence

When we talk about the future we use both tenses in one sentences. The will-future is used in the main clause and the Simple Present is used in the subordinate clause.

main clause (will-future) subordinate clause (Simple Present)
I will phone you when I have time.
They will wait at the church until the guide comes.
We will go shopping before we visit Lenny.
She will text Walter if the train is late.